Effect of strength training on bone growth and development in children and adolescents
by Edward Cho
Abstract – Strength training is very common in adults and it has become more and more popular in children and adolescents. Strength training is designed to improve physical strength and endurance and it’s often associated with the use of weights. There has been a concern that strength training could potentially stunt youth's growth by damaging their growth plate and putting too much stress on the growing body. This systematic review is to summarize previous and current studies on the effects, both positive and negative, of strength training on growth in children and adolescents. The effects of strength training were defined as its impact on bone growth, which is affected by growth hormone and sex hormones, including testosterone and estrogen. In this review the correlation between strength training in adolescents and potential risks/benefits to their height was explored. While there are both risks and benefits associated with strength training, the results suggest that properly designed and supervised strength training increases bone strength and decreases sports-related injuries and bone fracture risks, by increasing growth hormones, testosterone and bone density. Therefore, strength training has more benefits than harms to growth. In conclusion, strength training in a safe and well-supervised environment can positively improve body development as well as the height growth of adolescents with no negative effect on youth body growth.